Wednesday, 17 March 2021

Electronic Media Act Will be Liberalised, Says Minister Nina Obuljen Koržinek

ZAGREB, 17 March, 2021 - Culture and Media Minister Nina Obuljen Koržinek said on Wednesday the Electronic Media Act would be liberalised and that one of the options was allowing the vertical concentration of the media in Croatia.

"We will liberalise that law in the part concerning the regulation of concentration. However, in that case we are considering certain other instruments which generate or ensure media pluralism. I mean the 'must offer' or 'must carry' concepts, but an agreement is yet to be reached on this," she told the press.

The news and programming director of the N1 commercial TV, Tihomir Ladišić, yesterday accused the government of leading to a market monopoly of the two telecoms, A1 and HT, by failing to amend the Electronic Media Act.

His comment came after news that A1 decided to remove N1 from its offer and that it was certain that HT would follow suit.

Asked if the government would allow vertical media concentration, enabling a media publisher to also be a media content operator, which is banned under the current Electronic Media Act, the minister said that was one of the options, adding that the law explicitly banned an operator from also being a media content publisher.

Other media pluralism mechanisms will be introduced

"We are one of the last EU states to have that explicit ban. If we go towards lifting the ban, then some other mechanisms ensuring media pluralism will be introduced," she said.

These mechanisms will enable a company that is both publisher and operator to offer the channel for which it obtained a concession to itself as an operator and to someone else under the same terms.

The minister said such vertical concentration was "what the public can rightfully be afraid of."

She reiterated that A1's decision to remove United Media Group's channels, including N1, from its offer, was strictly a business matter between the two companies, not a matter of legislative regulation.

The minister has a number of times dismissed the argument that the Electronic Media Act did not allow N1 to broadcast on its own platform, saying the law regulates only publishers which have a concession and are established in Croatia.

"N1 is a pay channel which is not established in Croatia and does not have a concession," the minister said.

She would not say what it meant for media democracy in Croatia that N1 was being phased out because two operators decided to remove it from their offers.

"Two days ago I said I believe it's in the public interest that all channels which interest the Croatian public should be available on all operators and I stand by that."

Following news that A1 was cancelling its contract with N1, MPs today called for regulating the telecommunications and media market and resolving contentious issues as soon and as precisely as possible with a new electronic media law.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Tuesday, 9 March 2021

PM Andrej Plenković: "Everything Except Respecting Law is Politicising"

ZAGREB, 9 March, 2021 - Everything except respecting the law is politicising, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Tuesday, commenting on the election procedure for the Supreme Court president, on which he disagrees with President Zoran Milanović, who is recommending a candidate who did not apply for the job.

"There are no (legal) tricks. There is respecting the Constitution and the law that is in force. Everything else is politicising without any reason, a wish to make an issue out of the election of the Supreme Court president which seems incredible," Plenković told the press in Ivanić-Grad.

There is a prescribed procedure and the State Judicial Council (DSV) invited applications, of which everyone in the judiciary knew, he added.

"The law was passed after the SDP (Social Democrats) strongly criticised the existing procedure. When the law was being passed, they commended (the procedure), and now, all of a sudden, they are singing a different tune."

As for the DSV's claim that it does not have the instruments to again call for applications because the law does not specify that, the prime minister said this situation should not have happened and that the regulations that were in force should be honoured.

Unlike the president, who said parliament would debate his recommendation of Zlata Đurđević for Supreme Court president, Plenković said that under parliament's rules of procedure, that could not be put on the agenda.

Asked if he would meet with the president if he invited him, Plenković said, "I don't feel like communicating about that via the media."

"The man said he would call, he hasn't, so he is sending some message via our (ruling coalition) partner, Prefect Čačić. It's all bizarre really."

Speaking of Đurđević, the head of the Zagreb Faculty of Law criminal law department, Plenković said it was not about whether someone respected her because everyone knew the circle of people who could head the Supreme Court. He added that she had been Croatia's backup candidate for the European Court of Human Rights.

He said there was no constitutional crisis as the deadline for electing the new Supreme Court president was July, and wondered what prevented Đurđević from applying for the position earlier.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Friday, 5 March 2021

Parliament Passes Amendments Granting Digital Nomads Right to Health Care

ZAGREB, 5 March, 2021 - The Croatian parliament on Friday passed amendments under which digital nomads, that is, third-country nationals who use digital technology for work and have been granted temporary residence in the Republic of Croatia, have the right to health care.

The amendments to the Act on Mandatory Health Insurance and Health Care for Foreigners in the Republic of Croatia enable digital nomads to exercise the right to health care.

This applies to third-country nationals who are employed or doing work using communication technology for a company or their own company which is not registered in the Republic of Croatia and do not carry out work for or provide services to employers in Croatia, and who have been granted temporary residence in our country.

They will not be obliged to apply for compulsory health insurance, but then they will bear the costs of using health care in health insitutions, private practices or other health care providers.

Amendments to the Islands Act, which transpose the government's decree on subsidising water for human consumption per islander, have been sent to second parliamentary reading.

In addition, several agricultural laws, on food control, veterinary medicine, breeding of domestic animals, have been sent to second reading.

The parliament has also adopted several reports for 2019 -- on state budget execution, on the implementation of official development assistance to foreign countries, and on the effects of the implementation of the Islands Act.

Sunday, 26 May 2019

Brand New Speed Cameras Installed on Croatia's Roads

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 26th of May, 2019, the intense fight against speeding in Croatia continues. At a few locations across Croatia, new ''super cameras'' that you simply can't manage to escape from or cheat have been set up.

The new cameras look completely different from those set up a few years ago and are much more powerful, according to a report from 24sata.

The Cordon-M4 camera is manufactured by the Russian company Simicon, which incorporates a number of technologies developed for the needs of the Russian Army and is currently one of the most advanced traffic surveillance cameras in the world. The camera can control all cars in all four lanes regardless of the direction in which they're moving.

It uses advanced radar technology and individually measures the speed of all of the vehicles passing. With the help of a high-resolution camera, it can automatically detect and read the plates from all European Union countries. When a car exceeds the permitted speed, the camera quickly recognises it and extracts its photograph.

The details and information about the individual driving the car and breaking the speed limit in Croatia can be stored in the camera's memory and transmitted over wireless connections. For example, it can be connected to a PC with police sitting nearby, or, the data can be sent to a central police server.

The camera software is able to automatically generate a police misdemeanor warrant and attach a photo to it, which could significantly reduce the scope of the work of Croatia's traffic police officers.

In addition, Croatia's new cameras will recognise and record any car that has an expired registration. Even complete and utter darkness is no problem because it is equipped with an advanced infrared system so no light whatsoever is needed during the night.

These new cameras are more compact than previous ones and don't need special pillars, they can be installed on any of the lighting posts or on the signalling and surveillance structures already placed along the highway.

They are currently being placed at numerous locations across the Republic  of Croatia. For now, nine cameras have been set up down in Dalmatia, more specifically in Split, Šibenik, Trogir, Imotski, Omiš and Makarska.

Make sure to follow our dedicated news page for much more.

Page 2 of 2